How do you practice music you already know? - Practicing music you already know well.

Technique, methods and advice for learners

Postby Stretto » Fri Dec 16, 2005 12:52 pm

How should one practice a piece of music they already know well as to not forget it or let it get sloppy?

Let's say one gets a piece of music learned/memorized flawlessly to performance level. How then after that should one practice in order to keep the piece up as part of their repertoire? Obviously, just playing it over and over isn't going to cut it. How can one practice a piece they already know?
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Postby 108-1121887355 » Sat Dec 17, 2005 10:56 am

Sometimes I suggest a break if it begins to get carelessly played. Then I will ask them to begin it as a new piece. Look at it as though they had not played it before - check out patterns, dynamics, etc. and play by section or theme. We may do some of this at the lesson as it may be hard for them to re-look at the piece. It is also hard to play it SLOWLY at first.

This is working with a student who played "Fur Elise" at the end of last year. She did not have it all memorized and did not do so over the summer, as suggested. She likes the piece and is eager to memorize it, so we are trying to take it slow - it seems to be working!

If a student does not really enjoy the piece, it may not work. Also, if it is a fast peice, it is even harder to slow it down. One girl loves "The Spinning Song" from her first year and often plays it at the lesson, while I may be taking a quick breath! There are some careless errors that I have tried to have her correct, but for now, have given up! She knows what they are.

I have thought of keeping a record of pieces each student has learned during the year, but some are forgotten and it is hard to keep them up as lesson time is never long enough. I do write in the lesson book to begin with one "old" piece every practice time. What I write and what is read or followed through - well, you know.

I used to have a chart out with memorized pieces - but for one or two memorizing seemed hard so it did not seem fair. I encourage duets and may have a list of who plays what duets. February is often Duet Month and I encourage all students to play at least two from a book or copy of music. I have many parents who play, this year, so I will try to have them involved, three Fathers!

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Postby Tranquillo » Mon Mar 31, 2008 10:41 pm

This is such an interesting topic.

My friend teaches piano she says that sometimes randomly after say a month she'd pull out a polished song that her students have been working on in the past and get the student to perform it for her - shed sit back and watch as an audience member. This just keeps the piece warm.

When I knew things well sometimes, (not under a teachers consent) I would much around with the piece, play it off tempo, jazz it up, put more pedal or less, really just experimenting the possiblities.

Thats just one idea, Joan mentioned some real innovative ones.
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